How To Find A Hobby As An Adult, According To Experts & Women Who’ve Done It (2023)

While outdoor activities like running and paddle-boarding kept Mia, 28, a scientist in Austin, Texas, entertained and active pre-2020, she used her time during lockdown to reconnect with a more complicated childhood interest she’d never gotten the chance to explore. “I always wanted to learn how to do stained glass work since I was a little girl, so I signed up first chance and fell in love,” she tells Bustle. While she says the hobby filled a void more regular socializing had left, it also boosted her mental health. “Glasswork gave me something to work towards and learn, and it took my full concentration,” she says, adding that learning new crafts that require a lot of attention help to keep her mind “calmer and happier.”

Being intentional about the way you spend your time off can be difficult, especially if you have a tendency to just blow free time doomscrolling. Finding a hobby as an adult might involve a lot of trial and error, or a lot of Sundays spent in a yarn shop that subtly aggravates your allergies. But the mental health benefits of having something meaningful to do with your spare time are profound.

Hobbies can contribute to “healthy self-esteem and identity formation,” says therapist Caroline Given, L.C.S.W., which can help diversify and increase the paths in which you bring joy into your life. A 2020 study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that engaging with a hobby had a positive effect on adults with self-reported depression, helping them to feel more relaxed, energized, and inspired. What’s more, a September 2021 study of over 13,000 Americans found that too much free time —more than five hours a day —led to lower well-being, but using time off work in meaningful ways — like by socializing or engaging in hobbies —negated that effect.

For Jackie, 29, a higher education fundraiser living in Indianapolis, a lot of free time and a desire for a cute cloth mask was the motivation she needed to dust off the sewing machine, she hadn’t touched in a decade. “The masks were a good starter project and reminded me how much I enjoyed sewing and making keepsakes for myself and others,” she tells Bustle of the hobby, which has since evolved into making more complicated knitwear projects. “It’s been super relaxing and my projects have kept me busy when there wasn’t much else to do,” she says.

While you might need to try a few hobbies before you find your perfect match, it’s worth the effort. “When you’re engaging in hobbies for mental health purposes, you want to pick activities that are stimulating but not overly challenging,” Given tells Bustle. “The brain loves novelty and engaging in true ‘play’, so anything you’re curious about or takes you away from daily life is a good place to put your energy,” she adds, noting that hobbies give you an opportunity to be mindful.

If you’re not particularly passionate about activities that aren’t specifically productive, you might need a couple of attempts with different hobbies. Here are some tips on finding your weekend bliss, or at least figuring out something interesting to do that doesn’t drain your battery.

1. Take It Back To Your Childhood

If you don't know where to begin, think back to what you loved doing as a kid. “Was it building? Coloring? Cutting and pasting? Whatever we used to do as kids that occupied us for hours at a time is often a sweet spot to return to!” Thea Monyeé, L.M.F.T., a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of MarleyAyo, a creative wellness consulting company, tells Bustle. Those were the times you were wild and free, and you didn't do something unless you really, really loved it. Chances are, you still have a lot of those same core interests.

“When I’m working with clients to find an activity that will benefit them mentally, I ask them what activity last got them into a flow state, a mental state in which you lose track of time. Most people haven’t been in a flow state since they were kids, so it does take revisiting childhood to find hobbies to partake in as adults,” Monyeé says.

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Reminiscing about your favorite pastimes of yesteryear doesn’t mean reliving them exactly. Given says that while you might have enjoyed horseback riding as a child, it might just be that spending time with animals as an adult gets you into the same flow state — volunteering at a dog rescue could fill the place of spending time at the barn.

2. Try A Couple Of Ideas On For Size

If you're stumped where to begin, throw yourself into some fresh options and see how you respond to them. Often, doing something as easy as walking around a crafts or sports store can get you thinking. Physically seeing a candle-making kit or a bocce set might make your curious about it.

Given says that hobby crafts like knitting, crochet, or painting can be extremely helpful with “unwinding the mind.” Try a few different projects and pay attention to how you feel while doing them. Does time fly? Do you feel more confident? If the craft feels grueling or frustrating, try a new one.

3. Attempt A Hobby That’s The Opposite Of What You’d Expect

Alternatively, Monyeé suggests testing out something completely random. “Try something that you assume you wouldn't be good at. There's nothing like surprising yourself, and if you are truly terrible at it, you’ll get to laugh about it,” she says. That trapeze workshop, or virtual piano class, could help you discover a talent you never realized you had.

4. Find An Activity That Will Make You Forget About Your Day

If you're not into the idea of picking up a hobby just to occupy your downtime, try to think of something that makes you forget about the stresses and worries of your day. It should be an activity that helps you relax. If crocheting or learning a language feels like it would be work, then that's probably not going to be a good choice for a hobby.

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Given says that a physical hobby that requires you to exert yourself, like exercise or gardening, can be a great thought-erasing activity. Endeavoring to organize your junk closet or work on your yard will take a lot of time and energy, giving you the chance to focus on what’s in front of you, and nothing else.

5. Remember Past Hobbies You Forgot About

Maybe you already had a hobby, just you completely forgot about it. Sometimes our hobbies might are like projects and we don't realize they could become a long term, slow evolving activity in our lives.

Lifestyle writer Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess advised in a blog post, "Literally, look around your home and see if there are any neglected hobbies that you started but haven't completed. Were you supposed to go to a trip to Italy a few summers back, and stopped picking up your Italian dictionary after the fact? Did you love taking photos during a past road trip, but haven't thought of picking up your camera just for fun? If you think back to a few projects you started in the past but then swiftly forgot about, you might have your hobby,” she wrote.

6. Notice What You Love To Buy As Guilty Pleasures

Is there a certain thing you just can't help but buy every time you're out shopping? The item might be holding the clue towards your next hobby. Are you always thumbing through short story books? Try writing your own. Are you always looking out for a chunky infinity scarf? Why don't you just knit one? Your receipts might hold the answers you're looking for.

7. Find An Activity That Makes You Feel Productive

Some people might have a hard time doing idle tasks that serve no purpose other than being fun. You know that feeling: When you're out at the movies or enjoying a long shopping trip, and you think, "I really should be doing something productive instead." If you're always on the move and trying to hit a goal or better yourself, harness that big Capricorn energy and make your hobby fit that criteria. Have you dabbled with the idea of a bullet journal? What about organizing your house? If this is you, taking a foreign language class might feel both like work and fun.

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8. Tap Into Your Flow State & Adjacent Interests

What was the last thing you did in your life that made you lose track of time, AKA, get into a flow state? Was it that 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, or a massive paint-by-numbers project? Once you have it in mind, pick apart the core principals of what made it so special for you and see if you can find them in a different activity.

"I realized my passion wasn’t for games themselves (although I do love them), but that my passion is for improvement, being good at something and then trying to get better,” self-help author Mark Manson tells Bustle. “Maybe for you, it’s organizing things efficiently, or getting lost in a fantasy world, or teaching somebody something, or solving technical problems. Whatever it is, don’t just look at the activities that keep you up all night, but look at the cognitive principles behind those activities that enthrall you, because they can easily be applied elsewhere,” he says. Maybe what you loved about running cross country in high school wasn’t the running part, but spending time in the woods, or maybe what was fun about doing musical theater was being a part of a team. Channel that energy into your next pastime.

9. Look For A Hobby That’s Radically Different

Take a look at the different types of interests and activities you have in your life, and pick a hobby that expands your palate. Do you put a lot of energy into the arts? Try something that’s a little more scientific, like brewing your own beer, or physical, like indoor rock climbing. Do you spend a lot of time doing activities that are neat and orderly? Try something super messy, like splatter painting.

“The more activities you take pride and pleasure in, the more you protect yourself from relying too much on one aspect of your life for self-worth and satisfaction,” Given says. “I think of it kind of like diversifying your self-esteem portfolio and a healthy reminder that there is more to you than your performance in whatever roles you juggle in life — be it work, school, parenting, etc,” she says.

10. Try A Hobby That Makes You Feel Confident

Finding self-worth in a hobby is a tall order, but if your only goal is to find an activity that you feel good doing, you can narrow your focus a bit. When trying out different hobbies, check in with yourself about how they make you feel. Are you kind of a natural at baking, and get a kick out of making people say “yum”? Are you randomly exceptional at calligraphy? Send your friends and family homemade card to show it off.

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“When we’re engaged in a hobby we’re good at, we’re focused on something positive and external that can be a healthy distraction from ruminating/fixating on our own internal monologue too much,” Given says. “To be fully engaged in a hobby that increases your self-worth would mean that the play/pleasure/curiosity part of your brain was activated rather than the judgement/over-analysis part of your brain,” she says.

11. Go Hobby-Hunting With A Friend

You know how it’s a lot harder to cancel on a 7 a.m. workout class when you’re supposed to meet a friend there? Monyeé says that including a buddy in your hobby-seeking journey will help “make sure you keep it up.” Apart from working out, there are lots of hobbies that are better with more people. Maybe you start a cooking club with your group chat, where everyone’s responsible for bringing a dish to the dinner party. Another idea might be to go in on a community garden plot with your work wife; that way, you’re both responsible for its success.

Finding something that makes you light up outside of work can seem like a giant task of itself, but it's worth it to find something that makes you feel creatively and independently fulfilled.

Study Cited:

Fancourt, Daisy, et al. “Fixed-Effects Analyses of Time-Varying Associations between Hobbies and Depression in a Longitudinal Cohort Study: Support for Social Prescribing?” Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Karger Publishers, 28 Oct. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1159/000503571

Sharif, M. A., Mogilner, C., & Hershfield, H. E. (2021). Having too little or too much time is linked to lower subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000391

Sources:

Caroline Given, L.C.S.W., therapist

Thea Monyeé, L.M.F.T., founder of MarleyAyo

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Mark Manson, self-help author

This article was originally published on

FAQs

How do I find a hobby when nothing interests me? ›

Looking into your past gives you a starting point to begin your search for a hobby. Chances are you had some kind of hobby when you were younger. That hobby could still be something you enjoy doing, or it can guide you to explore similar options. See if the hobbies you used to have can translate into your adult life.

What kind of hobbies do adults have? ›

Hobbies for adults
  • Scrapbooking.
  • Lettering.
  • Beading.
  • Rug hooking.
  • Crocheting, knitting.
  • Sewing.
  • Quilting.
  • Building models.
2 Feb 2018

How do I find my hobbies at 40? ›

Here are 40 hobbies to pick up when you don't know what to do with whatever extra time you have.
  1. Hiking. © Ammentorp - Dreamstime.com. ...
  2. Doing magic tricks. iStock.com/CasarsaGuru. ...
  3. Origami. iStock.com/blackCAT. ...
  4. Cooking and baking. ...
  5. Photography. ...
  6. Collecting anything. ...
  7. Sculpting pottery or ceramics. ...
  8. Bowling.
2 Jan 2020

What are the 5 hobbies you should have? ›

The 5 types of hobbies we all need to develop for self-...
  • Hobbies that make you money.
  • Hobbies that keep you creative.
  • Hobbies that keep you in shape.
  • Hobbies that build your knowledge.
  • Hobbies to help you socialize.
5 Nov 2021

What should I do if I have no interests? ›

Find Support. When you're feeling disinterested, it can be helpful to turn to friends and family for support. Let them know that you're struggling with this lack of interest. Sometimes just spending time around other people can lift your mood.

What should I do if I'm not interested in anything? ›

Anhedonia is a word that describes a reduced interest in activities an individual used to enjoy, as well as a decreased ability to feel pleasure. It's a core symptom of major depressive disorder, but it can also be a symptom of other mental health disorders.

Is it normal to have no hobbies? ›

Answer: First of all, there's nothing wrong with you. Hobbies not sticking is common and it's something we hear about in therapy a lot because it's troubling to people.

How do I find an adult hobby? ›

Here are some tips on finding your weekend bliss, or at least figuring out something interesting to do that doesn't drain your battery.
  1. Take It Back To Your Childhood. ...
  2. Try A Couple Of Ideas On For Size. ...
  3. Attempt A Hobby That's The Opposite Of What You'd Expect. ...
  4. Find An Activity That Will Make You Forget About Your Day.
16 Sept 2021

How do you get hobbies as an adult? ›

Take a class or a lesson.

If something piqued your interest in the past, look for a class to learn more about it. A cooking class, a computer-design class, a painting outing with friends, a make-your-own ceramics store, a belly-dancing class — they can help you learn where your passions reside.

What hobbies Should a 40 year old woman have? ›

12 Awesome Hobbies To Take Up In Your 40s
  • Photography. ...
  • Genealogy. ...
  • Playing a Musical Instrument. ...
  • Writing/Travel Writing/Blogging. ...
  • Home Preserving/Pickling/Canning. ...
  • Home Brewing/Wine Making. ...
  • Running. ...
  • Knitting.
30 Jul 2016

What do middle aged do for fun? ›

Middle-aged men and women spend increasingly more time watching sports than participating in them. The sports they do engage in are the less strenuous ones – swimming, boating, fishing, golfing, and bowling.

What are intellectual hobbies? ›

Work out your brain

Sudoku, puzzles, riddles, board games, video games, card games, and similar activities increase neuroplasticity.

What hobbies should people have? ›

A creative hobby such as writing, painting, doodling, journaling, stitching, crochet, DIY crafts etc are good to keep one creative. Having a creative hobby is very important as it helps in improving brain function, improving concentration and emotional expressions.

What is good hobby for a 30 year old woman? ›

From creative pursuits like photography and pottery making, to learning a new language, or fitness-boosting activities like cold water swimming and strength training, the best hobbies for women in their 30s are an act of self-care and could help boost your social circle as well as your skillset.

What can a 30 year old do for fun? ›

I decided to make a list of 30 fun things to do while I'm 30 years old and kick this decade off with a bang!
  • Get a massage. ...
  • Read the Harry Potter series again.
  • Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • Explore a new city.
  • Go hiking.
  • Make my own donuts.
  • Design and decorate the entryway to our home.
7 Feb 2018

How do you meet people in your 30s? ›

How To Make Friends In A New City In Your 30s
  1. Join social groups or clubs that interest you. ...
  2. Attend local events, meetups, and happy hours. ...
  3. Volunteer for a cause you care about. ...
  4. Get a job in your field or at a company you admire. ...
  5. Use your existing network. ...
  6. Don't be afraid of small talk. ...
  7. Join an online community.

Why do I have no motivation to do anything? ›

Low motivation can be a common symptom of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. You can practice self-help and self-care as much as you can, but you may find that seeking professional help is more helpful for your emotions. Online therapy is beneficial, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is it called when you have no interest in anything? ›

When you begin to lose interest in everything — your hobbies, passions, and entertainment sources — it becomes difficult to function. This loss of interest is known as anhedonia — a main symptom of depression.

Why do I lose attraction so fast? ›

It's just your personality and social preference at the moment. There may not be a deeper reason why you quickly lose interest in people. Maybe you're in a busy phase in your life, and new friendships aren't your priority. Maybe you're younger and your mind is more fickle than it will eventually be.

How do I get my old hobby back? ›

Start doing things in little steps. Start doing something you like for about ten minutes a day and get used to it. Then start increase this time every day, write down a program, goals you want to reach, and try yo do something little every day until you get used to it.

Why do I have no interest in talking to people? ›

If someone is socially anxious, insecure, and afraid of rejection, they may believe they're not interested in people. If they're afraid of starting conversations they may feel people are so boring that they don't want to leave the house and talk to anyone at all.

› nohobbies ›

People can be concerned about having no interests for its own sake. They picked up the idea that everyone is supposed to have a bunch of hobbies, and wonder if ...
It only really took a five-minute conversation coupled with 27 years of gross inactivity to realize I was a man without hobbies. It happened like this: During a...
Don't have any hobbies? Read this post and find out how you can have a hobby you can enjoy and have fun with yourself.

How do I find a hobby for ADHD? ›

Hobby Ideas from the ADHD Group
  1. Rock climbing.
  2. Building 3D objects.
  3. Bouldering.
  4. Night skiing.
  5. Playing drums.
  6. Working on cars.
  7. Designing and silk-screening custom t-shirts.
  8. Building wooden model boats.
7 Apr 2022

How do I find my hobbies in my 20s? ›

Hobbies To Pick Up In Your 20s
  1. Read Non-Fiction books. There's so much wisdom in this world. ...
  2. Learn a new language. I learned french in high school and it's still one of my biggest flex when meeting new people, lol! ...
  3. Meditate.
  4. Brain Workout. BUY ON AMAZON. ...
  5. Journaling. ...
  6. Workout. ...
  7. Travel. ...
  8. Host Events.
29 Apr 2022

How do I find a hobby to make money? ›

  1. Writing. Writing and publishing online has the potential to offer you a lot of practical value outside of being a mere hobby. ...
  2. Illustration and design. ...
  3. Music. ...
  4. Cooking. ...
  5. Gardening. ...
  6. Photography. ...
  7. DIY crafts. ...
  8. Comedy.
11 Jul 2022

What are example of hobbies? ›

A hobby is something you enjoy doing in your free time. It is an activity that helps you relieve stress and tension. For example, playing chess, reading books, writing, cooking, traveling, etc. are prominent examples of hobbies.

What are the signs of ADHD in female adults? ›

Adult ADHD symptoms may include:
  • Impulsiveness.
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing.
  • Poor time management skills.
  • Problems focusing on a task.
  • Trouble multitasking.
  • Excessive activity or restlessness.
  • Poor planning.
  • Low frustration tolerance.
22 Jun 2019

What hobbies are good for anxiety? ›

10 Hobbies That Help Fight Depression and Anxiety
  • Cook. If you're not a huge fan of cooking, we get it. ...
  • Get Out in Nature. ...
  • Keep Houseplants or Start a Garden. ...
  • Do Group Activities. ...
  • Write Stories and Poems. ...
  • Volunteer In Your Community. ...
  • Learn A New Language. ...
  • Perfect Something You Already Enjoy.
4 Feb 2022

What does ADHD boredom feel like? ›

ADHD boredom intolerance can cause you to seek stimulation when faced with boring activities. You may find yourself acting out, drifting off in your thoughts, or getting bored much more quickly than your peers. And when you get bored, you may have more trouble stimulating your brain and getting motivated again.

What do people in their 20s do in their free time? ›

“Leisure pursuits that tap into creativity, such as playing a musical instrument, listening to their latest musical download, or attending a concert are all popular pursuits for successful 20-somethings,” Taylor says.

What craft hobby makes the most money? ›

6 Craft Hobbies That Make Money
  • Handmade Jewelry. Do you love creating your own jewelry? ...
  • Card making. Another popular side hustle for arts and crafts lovers is start a home based greeting card business. ...
  • Remodeling furniture. Perhaps you're looking for something a little more hands-on? ...
  • Baking. ...
  • Selling Handmade Cricut Crafts.
4 May 2020

What is the most common hobby in the world? ›

Watching TV and movies is the most popular and common hobby around the world.

What can a lady sell to make money? ›

What Can You Sell to Make Money Fast?
  • Old clothes. If you're looking for things to sell to make quick cash, your clothes just might top the list. ...
  • Sneakers. Have some cool sneakers you want to get rid of? ...
  • Jewelry. ...
  • Watches. ...
  • Your wedding dress. ...
  • Baby items. ...
  • Home décor items. ...
  • Holiday decorations.
8 Sept 2022

What do you like to do in your free time? ›

These are just some examples of hobbies, habits, and activities that successful people enjoy when they aren't working:
  • Meditation. ...
  • Physical exercise. ...
  • Reading and podcasts. ...
  • Vacations. ...
  • Classes. ...
  • Time with family and friends. ...
  • Creative pursuits. ...
  • Volunteering.
28 Jul 2020

Can watching TV be a hobby? ›

TV watching is a hobby.

There is a lot to learn from watching TV, and if you watch it smartly, meaning you analyze what you're watching, TV screening can be very intellectual, too. No, TV watching is not a physically-demanding hobby, but it's a hobby all the same.

Is watching Netflix a hobby? ›

Hobby, literally, means an activity which you do for pleasure when you are not working. These are important to keep one's mind busy and away from any bad thoughts! So, essentially, it means that even watching Netflix can be considered as a hobby.

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